When Murphy’s Law Meets the Thanksgiving Road Trip

By Michele Morgan, the Organized Mom

Supposedly, traveling is half the fun of taking a trip somewhere. But during the holiday season, Murphy’s Law always seems to pop into play to keep my family and me from that turkey or tofurkey. In the end, though, we always seem to have a good laugh about it.

Take, for instance, the year my husband, 6-month-old daughter, dog, and cat all piled in the car to go see my mother in South Carolina for Thanksgiving (hey, we were new parents; we didn’t know any better). It was supposed to be an eight-hour drive. My husband and I were optimistic and proud of our new baby. We couldn't wait to share her with my mom and of course, we couldn't leave our fur babies behind.

So, we packed up the car the night before—thank goodness we had an SUV because as every parent knows it takes a village full of stuff to go on any kind of trip with a kid. Car seat: check. Stroller: check. High chair: check. Home-baked pies: check. Litter pan: check. Everything was perfectly organized and ready to go. (As a side note, I’ll mention that my husband doesn't like to make any stops when traveling on the road—perfect conditions when you’ve got a new baby that will need frequent diapers changes en route.)

Needless to say, everyone else had the same idea we did, and we hit traffic pretty much everywhere. As I sat in the backseat with our precious little girl, car packed to capacity, the cat decided it was time to use the litter pan that was perched behind my head. Suddenly, my husband slammed on his brakes and the litter pan went flying. Wet litter scattered all through the car. At this point, our dog decided he to investigate what the cat left behind. What happened with this, I’ll leave to your imagination.

Eleven hours later, we all finally arrived safe and sound at my mom’s house. We were (mostly) cheerful and ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with a bountiful dinner, and much laughter—because we were determined not to let Murphy’s Law ruin our trip. This holiday season, here’s wishing you much patience and humor in the face of whatever Murphy has in store for you!

Photograph: Portrait of Ferraro Family, c. 1922, from the Paradise Valley Folklife Project collection, 1978-1982 (AFC 1991/021), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress